Monday, April 27, 2009

Picks of the Week: April 26 - May 2, 2009

Website of the Week -- Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement

CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) conducts research on the civic and political engagement of Americans between the ages of 15 and 25. CIRCLE was founded in 2001 with a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts and is now also funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Ford Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, and several others. It is based at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University. CIRCLE has a reputation for reliable, independent, timely research. CIRCLE has begun to change public discourse and press coverage about young people as citizens. CIRCLE is doing this by providing a stream of reliable data and analysis that helps Americans to understand the strengths and weaknesses of civic education, broadly defined. Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Stanford Social Innovation Review

From the publisher: Stanford Social Innovation Review is an award-winning magazine covering best strategies for nonprofits, foundations, and socially responsible businesses. The Stanford Graduate School of Business launched the Review in 2003, the first publication by a leading school of management to promote innovative solutions to social problems. Each issue advances strategy and leadership in nonprofit management, corporate social responsibility, social entrepreneurship, and philanthropy. Click here to preview this publication on

Trend of the Week -- Nonprofits Overlook Pro Bono and Skilled Volunteer Support

According to the 2009 Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, both nonprofits and corporations are overlooking a high-impact opportunity to leverage pro bono and skilled volunteer support to offset a decline in corporate giving dollars. Despite the challenging economic backdrop, nearly 40 percent of nonprofit executives say they will spend between $50,000 and $250,000 or more of "hard-won" cash on outside contractors and consultants this year. Yet nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of nonprofit respondents have no plans to use skilled volunteers or pro bono support in any capacity in 2009. According to the study, overwhelmingly, corporate grant makers (77 percent) and nonprofits (75 percent) place a high value on employee skills. Further, 95 percent of nonprofits agree they are in greater need of pro bono or skilled volunteer support. However, these statements are inconsistent with corporations' efforts to contribute skilled volunteers and nonprofits' efforts to seek them. Approximately one-third (35 percent) of nonprofits do not have the appropriate infrastructure needed to successfully deploy volunteers. Further, nearly one quarter (24 percent) of nonprofits surveyed have no one in charge of volunteer management or have someone in charge with less than three years of experience (23 percent). Similarly, more than one-in-four (26 percent) corporations have no one to oversee an employee volunteer program. Moreover, 17 percent of corporations have no employee volunteer program at all. To download the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Alliance Resource Center

The Alliance Resource Center is a searchable database of resources for nonprofits. The database has been complied by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management. It includes information on organizations, websites, books, newsletters and other products and services for nonprofit organizations. You can search the database by entering a search terms, by selecting a “Resource Type” or by “Resource Category”. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Quickly Change Font Size in Word

To quickly increase or decrease the font size of selected text by 1 point, do this:

• Select Text
• Ctrl + ] to increase by 1 point.
• Ctrl + [ to decrease by 1 point.

This trick works in Word 2007 as well as earlier versions.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Picks of the Week: April 19 - 25, 2009

Website of the Week -- Executive Service Corps Affiliate Network

The Executive Service Corps Affiliate Network (ESCAN) is a nationwide network of nonprofit consulting organizations. ESC affiliates are management support organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in the communities they serve. They accomplish this by providing high quality, affordable consulting services and other technical assistance to nonprofits, schools, and government agencies. The ESC affiliates offer high impact volunteer opportunities to executives and professionals who have had senior level experience in business, government, or nonprofits. The Executive Service Corps Affiliate Network is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports its affiliates in building their capacity to serve their nonprofit clients by:

• Developing partnerships with national organizations
• Establishing performance benchmarking for ESC affiliates
• Facilitating the exchange of best consulting practices and model programs
• Marketing to national nonprofits
• Securing funding for affiliates’ consulting programs
• Organizing a National Leadership Conference

Go to:

Publication of the Week -- The Zone of Insolvency: How Nonprofits Avoid Hidden Liabilities & Build Financial Strength by Ron Mattocks

From the Publisher: Would you know if your nonprofit is in the Zone of Insolvency and understand the related legal responsibilities and liabilities of operating in financial distress? Approximately one-third of nonprofits—more than 450,000 organizations—function perpetually in the Zone of Insolvency, i.e., in financial distress, and approximately seven percent are completely insolvent. What is the impact of hundreds of millions of dollars given to charitable organizations that operate in perpetual financial distress? Do board members have an inherent obligation to keep nonprofit organizations in operation regardless of their financial condition, or their mission effectiveness? Written by Ron Mattocks with the knowledge and authority that comes from many years of leadership and consulting in the nonprofit sector, Zone of Insolvency shines a bright and urgent light on the real issue of creating financial strength across the whole spectrum of nonprofit organizations. Required reading for nonprofit managers, board members, and volunteers, Zone of Insolvency takes an honest look at the fundamental obstacles facing the nonprofit sector through case studies of organizations. Click here to preview this book on Amazon.

Trend of the Week -- Foundation Growth and Giving Trends

In the midst of a deepening economic crisis, the more than 75,000 U.S. grantmaking foundations increased their giving 2.8 percent in 2008 to an estimated $45.6 billion, according to Foundation Growth and Giving Estimates: Current Outlook (2009 Edition) published by The Foundation Center. While giving increased modestly, it did not grow as much as had been expected due to the extreme nature of the economic downturn. Over 67 percent of foundations surveyed said they expect to reduce their 2009 giving. Key estimates for 2008 giving include:

• Independent and family foundations — which represent close to nine out of 10 foundations — increased their giving 2.5 percent to $33 billion.
• Corporate foundation giving held steady at $4.4 billion.
• Community foundation giving rose 6.7 percent to $4.6 billion, surpassing corporate foundations for the first time.

To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- Web based Community Organizing Training Module

Marshall Ganz has developed an excellent web-based resource on organizing. Professor Ganz is a long-time organizer; a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and a principal of Harvard’s Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations. This Web module contains learning materials that address the following questions:

• What is organizing?
• How do people organize?
• What skills are required of organizers?
• How can these skills be shared with others?

This module is designed for organizers, students, and trainers of organizers alike. Organizers and students will find readings, video lecture clips and Web links on organizing ("Learning Resources" tab on the left margin). In addition, trainers will find a pedagogy of organizing developed by Professor Ganz and his colleagues ("Trainer's Workshop"). Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Date Field in Word 2007

To quickly enter a date field in Word 2007, try this:

Alt + Shift + D

Remember, this is a date FIELD not text. It will always display the current date (assuming the date in your computer is correct.) So only use it when you want the date to change.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Picks of the Week: April 12 - 18, 2009

Website of the Week -- FSG Social Impact Advisors

FSG Social Impact Advisors (FSG) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1999 as the Foundation Strategy Group by Mark Kramer and Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter. FSG is dedicated to accelerating social progress by advancing the practice of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility in three ways:

• Consulting services on strategy and implementation, evaluation, organizational alignment, and corporate social responsibility that help individual foundations, corporations, and nonprofits increase their effectiveness and social impact.
• Breakthrough ideas are at the core of what FSG does, from original writing on the ways foundations can create value, to more recent work on evaluation, corporate social responsibility, and community foundation sustainability. FSG’s research and writing has appeared in such publications as Harvard Business Review, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
• Multi-year initiatives in collaboration with external partners, guided by expert advisory boards, and supported by major funders. The goal of such action initiatives is to advance the field by creating tools, identifying best practices, and fostering constructive collaboration to accelerate the pace of social progress.

Go to:

Publication of the Week -- Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential by Dan Pallotta

From the publisher: Pallotta TeamWorks was the for-profit brainchild behind several campaigns to raise funds for breast cancer and AIDS research and awareness, creating several nationwide, marathonlike events that raised millions. But its founder came under attack for violating the sacred premises of charitable organizations: low profile, low budget, and little or no profit. Pallotta turns on its head the assumption that charity and capitalism should be forever divided. Don’t charitable causes deserve the same kind of competitive forces that work to get results in the for-profit sector? Wouldn’t social causes be better served if charitable organizations were headed by the kind of bright, aggressive executives that work in the for-profit sector? Pallotta traces the history of nonprofit organizations to Puritan notions of charity and self-denial. He also offers a detailed case study of TeamWorks and other trends in the nonprofit sector that only tweak around the edges of a system that is sorely in need of change if it is to deliver on its mission to improve social inequities or cure diseases. A passionate, thought-provoking look at the nonprofit sector. Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Major Trends in Education and Learning

According to the KnowledgeWorks Foundation, over the next decade, the most vibrant innovations in education will take place outside traditional institutions. The Foundation’s recently released comprehensive trend resource, “2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning”, is a tool for thinking about, preparing for, and shaping the future of learning and education. It outlines key forces of change that will shape the landscape of learning over the next decade. This resource will be important for nonprofits engaged in work related to education and learning. The forecast contains four major types of information:

• “Drivers of Change”: major forces of transformation that will shape our efforts to remake learning.
• “Trends”: distinct directions of change that point to new concepts or new patterns of behavior that will shape the future of learning.
• “Signals”: examples, or early indicators, of the changes described by the trends and the drivers of change. By providing analogies, data, and explicit stories, signals help make the future seem more concrete.
• “Learning agents”: New roles and functions that might emerge in the future ecosystem of learning.

To access this amazing resource, go to: You can download a pdf version and also order multiple hard copies at no charge.

Resource of the Week -- Video: Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards

These 11 videos from BoardSource are based on BoardSource's Governance Series. The videos will help board members, chief executives, and senior staff understand the fundamental elements of service common to most boards, including board member responsibilities, how to structure the board in the most efficient manner, and how to accomplish governance work in the spirit and mission of the organization. The Governance Series can be purchased in the BoardSource bookstore. To access the videos, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Display Formulas in Excel 2007 Worksheet

When creating Microsoft Excel worksheets formula results are shown in the worksheet NOT the formula. There may be times when it would be helpful if you could SEE the formula in the worksheet.
To display formulas in Excel 2007:

• Click the Office button
• Click the Excel Options button
• In the Excel Options dialog box, click Advanced
• Scroll down to the Display options for this worksheet section
• Click to select the option Show formulas in cells instead of their calculated values

To resume seeing the results of the formula, just repeat the above steps. Or you can use the shortcut keys for toggling formula viewing on and off: Ctrl+` (accent key below the tilde ~). This shortcut works in earlier versions of Excel as well.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Picks of the Week: April 5 - 11, 2009

Website of the Week -- HR Council for the Voluntary & Non-profit Sector

The HR Council for the Voluntary & Non-profit Sector (HR Council) works with organizations, educators, labor and government to identify and address issues related to paid employment in the voluntary and non-profit sector. Priorities include:

• Build and share knowledge
• Promote good HR practices
• Foster training and learning opportunities
• Provide leadership on HR issues
• Engage voluntary and non-profit organizations in our work

Even though the Council is based in Canada, resources will be of great use to nonprofits outside of Canada. Go to: Of special interest is a publication entitled “Better Together”. It describes a shared HR services framework for non-profit organizations developed by the HR Council. This framework is based on the experiences of a number of existing non-profit shared HR services models.

Publication of the Week -- Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission: A Strategic Guide for Nonprofit Leaders by Holly Ross, Katrin Verclas and Alison Levine

From the publisher: Managing Technology to Meet Your Mission is a practical resource that will help nonprofit professionals make smart, strategic decisions about technology. The book shows how to effectively manage technology and offers practical advice for decision makers and staff alike who often have little or no experience with technology. With contributions from the top experts in the nonprofit technology field, this must-have guide addresses technology planning and people. It includes the tools you need to get the work done, and the knowledge that will help you communicate better, evaluate technology investments, raise money, and more. Written in non-technical language the book covers a broad spectrum of topics including:

• Achieving IT Alignment with Your Mission by Steve Heye, YMCA of the USA
• Managing Technology Change by Dahna Goldstein, PhilanTech
• Measuring the Return on Investment of Technology by Beth Kanter, trainer, blogger and consultant
• IT Planning and Prioritizing by Peter Campbell, Earthjustice
• Budgeting For and Funding Technology by Scott McCallum and Keith R. Thode, Aidmatrix Foundation
• And much more

Click here to preview this book on

Trend of the Week -- Nonprofit Employment Expected to Fall in 2009

In 2009, nonprofit organizations will have fewer employees and almost no disciplined function to manage them, according to the 3rd Annual Nonprofit Employment Trends Survey. The Nonprofit HR Solutions 2009 survey reveals that 41.6 percent of nonprofits intend to create new full-time positions, down from 61.9 percent in 2008. In addition, 26.1 percent indicate that they intend to downsize or lay off staff in 2009 vs. 7.6 percent of nonprofits that planned reductions in 2008. Despite the dim industry outlook, responses to the 30-question survey show that more than 50 percent of nonprofits have no formal staffing or recruiting budget. Of organizations with formal recruiting budgets, almost 60 percent allocated $5,000 or less per year and instead relied primarily on formal and informal networks of colleagues and friends to fill vacant positions. Close to 30 percent of respondents have one staff person dedicated to managing the human resources function, an almost 8 percent increase from 2008; however, the majority of participating organizations said their human resources function is managed by someone with shared job responsibilities, outsourced to a third party, or simply too small to have any dedicated resources. To download a copy of the report, go to:

Resource of the Week -- VolunteerSpot

VolunteerSpot is a free online sign-up tool that simplifies grassroots volunteering. The site makes it easy for anyone to quickly mobilize and coordinate volunteers in their community, congregation or social network. This is a tool for all-volunteer group officers, committee chairs, special event planners, and others who need to schedule and organize many other volunteers. The leader creates a schedule of volunteer needs on the online calendar and invites people to sign up with an e-mail. Volunteers click a link to see what spots are available and choose when and how they want to help. VolunteerSpot sends automated confirmation and reminder messages, helping everyone keep their commitments. Since it happens in real-time, the schedule is always current, significantly reduces coordination time, and makes the process easier for everyone. VolunteerSpot is a free service for local-level volunteers. Corporations and larger groups wanting to brand the Web site or obtain planned premium features, such as hours tracking, will be charged a fee. But you can test the system immediately at no cost. Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Automatic Hyperlinks in Word 2007

By default, Word 2007 automatically creates hyperlinks whenever you type a Web address. To turn off this feature:

• Click the Office button
• Click the Word Options button
• Click Proofing
• Click AutoCorrect Options
• On the AutoFormat as you type tab and on the AutoFormat tab, click to clear the Internet and network paths with hyperlinks check box and click OK
• Click OK again to close the Word Options dialog box

If you've already typed a document and you want to remove the hyperlinks, simply select the entire document by pressing Ctrl + A and press Ctrl + Shift + F9.